Day 243: August 31, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Acts 3:1-10
1 Now Peter and John were going up together to the temple complex at the hour of prayer at three in the afternoon. 2 And a man who was lame from birth was carried there and placed every day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so he could beg from those entering the temple complex. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple complex, he asked for help. 4 Peter, along with John, looked at him intently and said, “Look at us.” 5 So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” 7 Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. 8 So he jumped up, stood, and started to walk, and he entered the temple complex with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized that he was the one who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the temple complex. So they were filled with awe and astonishment at what had happened to him.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

So he jumped up, stood, and started to walk, and he entered the temple complex with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.
—Acts 3:8

To Be Continued
by Zach Van Gieson, Children's Minister, Brentwood Baptist, The Church at Station Hill

To be continued… What a frustrating phrase.

Think back to one of your favorite TV shows. Remember how annoyed you were by the realization that there was only five minutes left in the show? There was no way the plot could be resolved in that short time. Sure enough, as the credits began to roll, the familiar phrase would pop up on the screen, “To be continued…”

Before the days of DVR and Internet spoilers, you’d typically have to wait at least a week for closure. And if the writers were particularly bent on torturing the audience, they would end a season with those faithful words, “To be continued…” A week-long wait then turned into months and months of conjecture on your part.

The Book of Acts operates in much the same way. Its author, Luke, had written a previous volume chronicling the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Gospel that bears Luke’s name ends with Jesus’ instruction to His disciples to be witnesses to the gospel throughout the known world. However, the last verse of Luke ends this way: “And they were continually in the temple complex praising God.” In other words: “To be continued…”

Thankfully, we’re not left to wonder if the disciples carried out the mission Jesus command them to undertake. In fact, Acts 1 repeats Jesus’ commission to His disciples (see Acts 1:8) and the rest of the book chronicles their obedience to that end.

Today, we find ourselves at an early part of their journey, while Peter and John are still in the city of Jerusalem. Pentecost has occurred, the Holy Spirit has been given, and the Apostles have been empowered for preaching the message of the cross. Three thousand people were added to the family of God, and we’re told the new believers experienced great unity among themselves.

After that mighty move of the Spirit, we learn the story of a one man. Crippled from birth, he was carried each day to the exterior of the temple complex so he might beg from those who were coming to gather and worship.

As Peter and John walked by this man, he begged them for help. In that moment, he had no way of knowing his life would soon change forever. Peter had no money for the man, but he instructed him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to get up and walk. Obediently, the man stood up, completely healed, and accompanied Peter and John into the temple.

So much could be said about the nature of miracles, their purposes, whether or not these types of things happen today. But those topics will have to wait for another day.

Quite simply, the big take away from today’s passage is this: a man once considered by his peers unworthy to be in God’s presence is, in an instant, granted unfettered access to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe through the person of Jesus Christ[1].

Don’t miss the significance of this event in the life of the crippled man, and don’t underestimate how much we resemble his lame state. You see, each of us is unworthy to enter the presence of God because we’re spiritually crippled by the disease of sin (see Romans 3:23).

But through the person and work of Jesus, we’ve gained access to the throne of God. If we’ve placed our personal faith and trust in the saving work of Jesus, then we’re no longer outside the gate as it were. Rather, we’ve been adopted as sons and daughters, complete with all the privileges and rights that come along with that title.

As you go throughout your day, reconsider what it is you’ve received from the Lord Jesus. Has He blessed you with wealth, health, family, and more? If so, praise Him for it. Are you struggling in these areas? Ask for His help. Regardless of where you find yourself, never forget the ultimate gift of salvation Jesus gives to those who call on Him.

[1] John B. Pohill. The New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture. (Broadman & Holman Publishers: Nashville, 2001), 128.

Reflection Questions

  1. In what ways do you relate to the beggar? Have you recognized your helpless spiritual condition and trusted in Christ to rescue you? (See Colossians 1:13-14.)
  2. How is Peter’s answer to the beggar instructive to us? (Hint: While physical provision is an important part of the church’s obligation to those we minister to, the greatest gift we can give any individual is the opportunity to respond to the grace of God found in Jesus Christ.)
  3. How might we incorporate the gospel into everyday conversations and experiences with our lost friends and neighbors?

About the Author

Zach Van Gieson

From Greenville, South Carolina, Zach is a graduate of MTSU with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He’s currently pursuing his Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and serves The Church At Station Hill as Children's Minister. His goal is simple: to ensure the Church partners with parents to form a biblical foundation for the lives of some of our youngest worshippers. In his personal time, he enjoys being with his wife Rachel and their daughter, Morgan. He’s a self-proclaimed news junkie and loves studying history on the side. Beyond that, you’ll find him involved in some type of outdoor activity year round—from deer and duck hunting to trout and bass fishing. Besides Scripture, the times he hears God the clearest are the times of solitude in His creation.